PhotoLog: Columbia Icefields

The Columbia Icefield is located in the southern end of Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. It is the largest expanse of ice outside of the Arctic. Six main glaciers make up this "field." Because the area is situated on the Continental Divide, the melt from these glaciers flows into the Pacific, Atlantic, AND Arctic Oceans; feeding fresh water systems as far away as the Hudson Bay, Columbia River, and more.

The PhotoLog below focuses on one of the glaciers found in this Icefield: the Athabasca. This glacier is rapidly shrinking in volume and receding at a current rate of approximately 16 feet per year. As the ice retreats, it leaves behind a moonscape of gravel and rock. This barren scape is enhanced by the surreal blue of glacial veins -- a combination that makes for some great photo opportunities. This is a fairly easy glacier to access, but the weather in the field is unpredictable and can be difficult. For example, on this day we were sporadically accompanied by high winds, vast silences, and various forms of precipitation (snow, ice, rain). This photo shoot reminded me of how Nature's raw fury continues to prove supreme, yet vulnerable.


PHOTOS by Jodi Patterson of Athabasca Glacier: